We live in a “see it” and “get it” now society. According to marketing researchers the human race now has an attention span of only eight seconds and that number is continuing to dwindle. We as a society expect to be entertained. If not, we get bored and we move onto the next bigger, newer and brighter thing.
Scan a restaurant and it’s hard to find a table where a patron isn’t flipping through Facebook on the latest iPhone. Take a ride down the highway and you’re sure to see kids watching their favorite flick on the mounted DVD in the van’s back seat.
None of these examples are inherently wrong or bad, but if we start expecting God to work and answer prayers on this rushed, “want it now” schedule we will surely be disappointed.
It’s easy to think that if a prayer isn’t answered in the way we wish and on the schedule we wish that God is simply ignoring us.
If a new job isn’t granted…
If a relationship isn’t mended…
If our financial stresses aren’t relieved…
If healing isn’t received…
We cry out, “God, why aren’t you listening to me?” “God, why aren’t you helping?” “You know I need you! Where are you?”
We keep sending up these prayers of desperation; much like hitting the “quick start” button on the microwave…but we fail to see the results. It is easy to forget that God’s wisdom is infinite and many times does not work on our expected time frame. God works by his own clock. He has His own plan and He doesn’t work by the world’s schedule or expectations.
When my nephew was only a young one year old he had to undergo heart surgery to seal several holes in his heart. You can imagine the prayers that were poured into heaven begging for a successful surgery and quick recovery. Well, things didn’t go as planned. The surgery took a wrong turn and resulted in my nephew suffering multiple strokes.
It was as if this precious baby had no connection to the world. He looked at his mom with a blank glassed over stare of non-recognition. Everything that had provided security to him during his first year of life was now a strange entity providing little comfort. Before being discharged from the hospital the neurologist gave the following words of wisdom, “It’s amazing the power that a young brain has to reconnect all of its circuits. Be patient and wait.” Of course, I’m paraphrasing but these were his words of encouragement to a very desperate family.
We all wanted to hit that button on the microwave and see immediate results. We wanted everything to be okay. We wanted healing. And, we wanted it now.
Well, it didn’t happen overnight but the neurologist was right. Overtime he improved and we had that precious baby boy back. It took longer than we wished but during that time God worked in all of our lives. God brought our family together. God planted the seeds of understanding and empathy into the baby’s older brother. God planted the seeds of faith in hundreds of friends and even strangers that had been praying.
My nephew is now a young boy. Yes, he has his struggles and will always have challenges but God has given him the smile of an angel. God has given his family experiences that translate into compassion for others. It didn’t happen overnight. It has been a long journey. The journey hasn’t included overnight transformations. It hasn’t been straight and has actually gone backwards and in circles at times.
But, you see God works in mysterious ways. Ways in which we find difficult to comprehend. However, He always uses us to show His glory. It’s very hard to be patient. It’s much easier to demand a microwave kind of result. Sometimes we have to realize that God likes to put our heartaches in the slow cooker so He can mold us into the person He created us to be.
“Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.” (Psalm 37 NIV).
[photo: Shannon Lee Miller]
Jane Daugherty is editor at A Light Filled Life, her blog, where she opens her, exposing her trials and struggles with depression and her story and inspiration serve to help anyone facing a struggle or challenge. Jana is author of “The D Diary”.